The New York Comic Con is almost upon us! While the San Diego Comic Con is generally regarded as a bigger deal, the ToughPigs HQ (located in a bunker underneath a Brooklyn IHOP) is on the east coast, so it garners more attention from us. And why not? New York Comic Con has all of the nerdy fun, crazy cosplayers, and passionate fans as SDCC, but with a (slightly) less intimidating crowd.
Just like last year, we’re going to let you all know about all of the Muppet, Sesame, and Henson-related goings-on, people to meet, and things to do at this year’s New York Comic Con. There isn’t as much as last year, but there’s still enough to get your horn-rimmed glasses all fogged up. Take a look below, then print out this article and use it as a checklist while you’re at NYCC!
Cultivating the Creative Energies of Your Students with Comic Books, Puppetry and the Arts
Attendees: Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Noel MacNeal and Bonnie Erickson, with writer Alex Simmons, Executive Director of Bronx Heroes Comic Con Ray Felix, and Mike Lopez
Location: Room 1A04
I feel a little guilty putting this one on the list since Thursday is Press and Professionals Day, but if you’re lucky enough to be a member of the press, a professional comics person, or the recipient of a 4-day pass, then you can check out this panel with Muppeteers Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Abby Cadabby) and Noel MacNeal (Bear) with Jim Henson Legacy Director and Miss Piggy designer Bonnie Erickson! They’ll be talking about how you can bring comic books, art and puppetry into the classroom, library, or after school program. Sounds a little like something that “professionals” would be more interested in than the fans that will be showing up through the rest of the weekend, but a good rule of thumb is to never miss an opportunity to witness any of these three talking about their craft.
Over 30 Years with Brian & Wendy Froud: Faeries, Goblins and Trolls
Attendees: Brian and Wendy Froud with fantasy writer Ellen Kushner
Location: Variant Stage
Strangely, we couldn’t find any panels of note on either Friday or Saturday. So feel free to spend your days however you see fit. Go buy some t-shirts or browse for action figures or take in a movie. It’s totally up to you. But then come back early Sunday morning to see Brian and Wendy Froud, the couple responsible for the amazing creature designs in The Dark Crystal. They’ll be discussing their careers and stories about working in the realm of faeries, goblins, and trolls (and Skeksis and Gelflings, I hope). My guess is they’ll also be discussing their work on the recent Dark Crystal and upcoming Labyrinth comic books, so we’re bound to learn a little something too. And then immediately following the panel…
Brian and Wendy Froud autographing
Location: Autographing table 5
…get their autographs! Head to the autograph area, and bring along your Dark Crystal swag for signing. Or just stand in line and shake the hand that drew all those little swirls on the Mystics’ faces.
Attendees: Roscoe Orman, Kevin Clash, and Elmo
Location: Variant Stage
And here’s the big one. Sesame Street’s Gordon and Elmo will be on-hand for a special presentation promoting the new season. If there’s one thing you do all weekend, make sure it’s this. We don’t know much about what they’ll be doing, but we know there will be singing. So if you’ve ever wanted to sing with a resident of Sesame Street, this is your chance! Unless you shared a duet with Roosevelt Franklin back in the ’70s. If that was you, then I am seething a little bit with jealousy.
If you want to meet Roscoe and Kevin and Gordon and Elmo, be sure to pick up your free tickets on Sunday at 10:00am at Queue Hall 1C. Show up early, because tickets are first come, first served. And tickets will only be handed out to adults accompanied by a child 12 years old or younger, so make sure you don’t forget to bring your kids along! (Details here.)
Kids/YA Publisher Spotlight
Attendees: Casey Lloyd, Christina Colangelo, Liesa Abrams, Rachel Feld, Susan Chang
Location: Room 1A07
This is the closest we could find to a panel having something to do with Muppet comics. While we wholeheartedly suggest going to every Marvel Comics panel and asking the publishers about when we’ll see new Muppet comic books, this panel will be discussing the future of kids and young adult comics with at least one panelist from Disney. If any announcements about the Muppets are to be made all weekend, it’ll be here. It’s also the best chance we have to raise a few hands during the Q&A to express our concern about where the heck our Muppet comics are. So I implore anyone reading this to attend this panel and make our collective voice heard!
Katie Cook – Table D1
Our good friend Katie Cook, who has done some stellar work in the Fraggle Rock comic books, will once again have her own table at the con. She’ll be selling custom-made mini paintings which are equal parts adorable and geeky. And because she has such a huge love of all things Muppet, I’m sure she would be happy to paint you a picture of just about any obscure Muppet you can think of.
David Petersen – Table C18
David Petersen is kinda famous these days, as he’s the writer and illustrator for the amazing Mouse Guard series. But he’s also responsible for 17 amazing Muppet comic book covers, one Dark Crystal promotional image, one Fraggle Rock comic book cover, and a bunch of his own brilliant fan art. Be sure to stop by his booth and let him know how ridiculously talented he is.
Amy Mebberson and James Silvani – Table C16
Aside from being two of the nicest illustrators in the comic world, Amy Mebberson and James Silvani are also responsible for some great Muppet comics. Amy illustrated Muppet Peter Pan, Muppet Sherlock Holmes, an arc of The Muppet Show Comic Book, a slew of Muppet comic covers, some recent Muppet picture books, and she will be working on the upcoming Sesame Street comic book. James illustrated Muppet King Arthur and provided covers for Muppet Snow White, and has since illustrated a bunch of Disney properties like Darkwing Duck. To keep things nice and convenient, Amy and James are sharing a table, so you’ll be able to marvel at their work without having to travel too far! Bonus!
Ramon Perez – Table X8
Ramon Perez is quickly becoming one of the best-known names in comics, mostly thanks to his work as the illustrator for Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s Tale of Sand. He was able to take Jim and Jerry’s original script and turn it into something truly beautiful and worthy of their words. Be sure to stop by Ramon’s booth, if only to marvel at the man who pulled off such a monumental task.
Yehudi Mercado – Table BB14
There will be more than just artists who have worked with the Muppets and Henson at Artist Alley, there will also be lots of fan artists! One that stuck out to us is Yehudi Mercado, who illustrated the Game of Thrones/Muppets mashups that made the rounds around the internet a while back. We don’t know if Yehudi will be selling or displaying these pieces, but you might as well stop by and check out his work either way!
Other Muppet fan art
There will be tons of artists scattered throughout Artist Alley, and the only way to find out if any of them have any Muppet-related work is to try and check them all out. For example, you might stumble on Jesse Rubenfeld (at table I14), whose work has appeared in our Mup Art Show series. It’s like finding a hidden gem of rare but brilliant Muppet merchandise! And if you pay for a piece of commissioned art, it’s one-of-a-freaking-kind!
Archaia – Booth #1520
The publisher behind the comic book versions of Fraggle Rock, The StoryTeller, The Dark Crystal, Tale of Sand, and the upcoming Labyrinth will once again have their own space carved out at the convention center. As of our press time, they haven’t yet announced which of their writers and artists will be on hand to sign autographs and meet the fans, but you’re bound to see at least a few folks from the above titles. This may be the closest you’ll ever come to meeting the Storyteller’s dog, so take advantage!
Ape Entertainment – Amy Mebberson and James Silvani’s table (# C16)
We have been informed that Ape Entertainment, the publisher of the upcoming Sesame Street comic book, will not have their own booth this year. However, you can find publisher Aaron Sparrow floating around Amy Mebberson and James Silvani’s table at Artist Alley. Feel free to pester him with questions about the Sesame comic and whether or not there will be an issue devoted to the secret origin of Polly Darton.
WeLoveFine.com – Booth #838
Last year, t-shirt company WeLoveFine (also known as Mighty Fine) devoted a section of their booth to Sesame Street, complete with an Oscar the Grouch photo puppet and signings by Eric Jacobson, Evan Cheng, and Louis Henry Mitchell. From what we hear, they won’t have as much Sesame stuff going on this time around, but they will be selling lots of cool Sesame and Muppet t-shirts. In fact, Sesame Street illustrator Evan Cheng has created two new nifty Sesame designs that will be available for sale at their booth, so be sure to snatch ‘em up!
Comic book conventions are easily the best place to see the most amazing/obscure/clever/elaborate/geeky costumes ever worn by a human being. In the past, we’ve seen Big Bird and Swedish Chef costumes, the San Diego Comic Con had Kermit and Gonzo Stormtroopers, and the recent Dragon*Con featured more Muppet costumes than I’ve ever seen outside of the annual ToughPigs Halloween Parade. So you’ll never know who or what you’ll see roaming the aisles of Comic Con, and I’m sure that if you people-watch long enough, you’re bound to spot a few clever interpretations of those frogs and monsters and oversized birds we love so much.
We haven’t heard about any Comic Con exclusive merchandise (aside from the aforementioned t-shirts at WeLoveFine), but one surprise I had at last year’s con was all of the vintage Muppet merchandise I saw. In the section devoted to retailers, many of the stores fill their shelves with old and used toys. Look hard enough and you’ll find Oscar the Grouch PVCs, Miss Piggy shampoo bottles, and Waldorf (but no Statler) plush dolls. Beyond that, you might find that Palisades toy you’re missing, or the recent Funko Pop figures, or even something you never even knew existed. Comic Con can be a veritable gold mine for the avid Muppet Stuff collector.
Once again, your pals Joe and Ryan will be at Comic Con! If you spot us, we encourage you to say hello and share in our weekend full of utter geekiness. (Need a reminder as to what we look like? Revisit our Ask ToughPigs videos!) However, I (Joe) may be a little less recognizable, as I’ll be in costume on Saturday and Sunday, dressed as Invincible, one of my favorite superheroes. Other con attendees are our artist friends Chris “Smig” Smigliano and Dave Hulteen, both of whom would be thrilled to meet a ToughPigs reader (if you can find them in the crowds, of course). And there’s bound to be a metric ton of Muppet fans at Comic Con, so don’t be shy, make a new friend and share your love for the frog with your fellow nerds!
We know there’s going to be a lot of Muppet fans at Comic Con, and we’re hoping the bulk of them are ToughPigs readers. So we’re hosting a mini-meet-and-greet on Sunday at 12:30pm, immediately after the Sesame Street panel. After seeing Elmo and Gordon do their thing, join us right outside the variant stage to meet Joe and Ryan, Smig and Dave Hulteen, and a group of your fellow Muppet fans!
We’ll see you at the con, Muppet fans!
Click here to check your Comics Buyers Guide for the shelf price of the ToughPigs forum!
by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com